Husband has Hepatitis C

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Hitherdither
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/15/2008 9:08 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
I found this forum months ago and a few other ones. I took a break from reading so much. My husband has Hepatitis C. He was on treatment for 4 months then was taken off due to low blood counts. It was killing him. He was responding to it and after he was taken off of course his viral load went up but not too much. Looking back on it we probably wouldn't have started the treatment. He's developed RA and is down most of the time. His rheumy put him on Plaquinel, 400 mg a day. Last liver panel showed his enzymes elevated.
 
Long story short. He goes to a charity hosp. Has no insurance. We pay out of pocket for the rheumy. He sees a nurse practitioner. She's ok at times but sometimes I question her. She kind of scared us into the treatment, said he couldn't have a liver biopsy due to low platelet count and insisted she wouldn't do one. Said she was sure from his counts that he was stage 3 into cirrosis. So we started tx. Got off and a few months later all of his blood work came back normal except his viral load. She then told us that she was probably wrong when she said he had cirrosis and he's showing no other signs of liver desease and if so it's mild. Meanwhile the rhuemy put him on plaquinel, 400 mgs a day. Also prenisone which he's weaning off of. He stays nauseated most of the time. He takes phenergan which makes him sleepy and tired all the time. Nurse said the plaquinel is probably the cause of the nausea and high enzymes. He has an appt. with the rhuemy Wed. Is this possible?
 
He can't work. We have rentals that takes care of bills but of course run short if the renters don't pay the rent. Nurse told him theres a possibility he can get on dissability or medicaid. We've never dealt with any of that stuff since we've always worked for everything. Is it possible to get on medicaid with assets? He's 58 years old.
 
We've had such a bad year and a half. Him sick on treatment. Trying to remodel a house. Living in a camper for so long, then Gustav blowing a tree down into the house. What else can happen?  Don't answer that!
 
Sorry if I'm rambling. I'm a little stressed and so worried.
 
Denise

Butterflythree
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 954
   Posted 11/15/2008 10:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to the forum Denise. I am sorry that you and your husband are going through so much. My husband has hep C and cirrhosis. He lost his job due to complications with encephalopathy, so he was without insurance for awhile. He tried to get medicaid and was turned down due to an IRA I have at work. They said we would have to use that first to even begin to qualify. I'm still not sure if he would qualify even if I didn't have the IRA. I think in Missouri (that is where we live) your income has to be pretty low to qualify. But, I am not sure of that. In July he was approved for Social Security and Medicare. It took him almost 3 years to be approved but he did receive back pay. If I were you I would try for Social Security. If he is turned down the first time (which almost always happen) get an attorney. It is a stuggle, but it will be worth it.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Butterflythree
 
There is always hope!


Hitherdither
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/15/2008 11:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for your response Butterfly.  When we first started all this he was turned down for SS. All this is just mind boggling. I've read so much I'm getting confused as to what is what and all the differences. We have 7 rental properties that bring in around $5,000 a month. Of course we have mortgages to pay and overhead.  From what I understand we may have too many assets. He has his own business but isn't working at all. Some days just can't get out of bed due to the nausea.  Hopefully as this plaquinel wears out of his system he'll start feeling better. But then the RA may flare up. It's a no win situation.
 
I'm sorry to hear about your husband. I know it's hard on you as well. I understand.  I've read many forums and finally all the info I got I just had to take a break. Sometimes knowing too much is as bad as not knowig enough. My husband also fell and broke his wrist 6 weeks ago. Still trying to heal from that.
 
I'll be watching this forum. From what I've read there are some really nice and concerned folkes on here.
 
Denise
 
 

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/15/2008 12:45 PM (GMT -7)   

Denise, welcome to the forum.  I'm so sorry your husband is ill.  You certainly have had a bad year.  Unfortunately, I doubt that your husband would qualify for Medicaid, even if he were on SSD.  It is determined by income.  I know when I was trying to get Medicaid, the only way to get it in FL is to be considered disabled by Social Security and to also be very low income; or have a child in the home less than 18 yrs. old, or be blind or deaf.  Even then, if you have too many assets, you don't qualify.  I would say that you definitely have too many assets, even if your rental properties do not always bring in money.  They would see that as "potential income."  I believe you are allowed to have the house you are living in, a car, and no more than $2,000 in the bank.  That's it, at least for FL.  The financial cap may be higher in other states.

I agree that it is a good idea for your husband to apply for SSD.  Get a lawyer after the first denial, and then prepare for a long wait.  It took them 2 yrs. to approve me, but I did get all the back pay.  Since it had been 2 yrs., I also got Medicare right off the bat.  If one is approved in less than 2 yrs., then there has to be a total 2-year wait for Medicare.  I do have Medically Needy from Medicare, which does pay my Medicare Part B premium and my Part D Prescription Drug Plan premium.

I was in the same position as your husband for most of the time I've been sick (hep C, cirrhosis, liver cancer, bilateral hip replacements with 2 revisions on the left) and had to get care at a Univ. of FL hospital.  It is not the best of care, for sure.  As soon as I got Medicare, I switched to Mayo, which literally saved my life.

As for the Plaquenil, ask the rheumatologist if there is an alternative med that your hubby could take.  Plaquenil is contraindicated in persons with hepatic function impairment.

I'm glad you decided to post.  You will find a lot of support, as well as information, here.

 



Hugs,
Connie
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
 
Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Post Edited (hep93) : 11/15/2008 12:51:00 PM (GMT-7)


Hitherdither
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/15/2008 12:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Connie,
 
Thank you for responding.  I'm sorry to hear of your health problems. I hope you're doing well.  
 
I'm getting a headache from being on the computer for so long, so bare with me when I ask questions.  Are you saying with assets he may be eligible for SSD? Trying to understand all this. We live in Louisiana.  I know it will be a long wait from what I've heard other people say.  I'll talk to him and see when he wants to start the process. It's a shame that sick people have to go through this. Not enough money to pay the extreme cost of medical bills but too much money to qualify for any help. There doesn't seem to be an in between.
 
I really like this forum. Learning alot from it already. I'll probably be a regular even if I just lerk. 
 
Denise

Butterflythree
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 954
   Posted 11/15/2008 2:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Denise, Social Security is not determined by what you own or how much you make. A person is eligible for Social Security if they are determined to be disabled. An employee pays in 6.2% of their gross pay to Social Security (the employer also matches 6.2%). The employee is able to draw it when they reach retirement age or they become disabled. If your husband is self-employed he has probably been paying it in as Self-Employment taxes on your individual tax return unless he takes wages, then it is being withheld from his checks. It all depends on how your business is setup (as a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietor).
Butterflythree
 
There is always hope!


hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/15/2008 2:46 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you for your good wishes.  I am doing pretty well now, except for chronic fatigue from the hep C.

Butterfly is right in what she wrote in her post.  Once your husband is approved for SSD, he can get Medicare 2 yrs. from the time he applied.  That long wait can be a problem, especially when someone is chronically ill, but just get him whatever care you can and when he gets Medicare he will have many more options.

I worked as a medical transcriptionist for 15 years, and the last 6 years of my career I worked from home.  I was considered an independent contractor and paid self-employment taxes...which is actually money that is being put into SS for when it is time for the worker to collect it.  If your hubby qualifies for SSD, he will get the same amount that he would've gotten at full retirement age.  Has he had regular jobs in his lifetime--ones where he was an employee?  If not, and he was renting out properties without paying taxes on the income--then he may have a problem. 

ETA:  You can access the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov  There you will find information about a variety of topics, and can also start a disability claim there.  I did my initial filing over the phone.  They will then send a packet of paperwork to fill out.  I never did have reason to go to the SS office.  Also, when he gets an attorney it doesn't matter who the attorney is--he cannot get more than 25% the back pay.  That is the standard payment and is automatically taken out of the lump sum payment and forwarded to him before you get your check.  IMO, it's better to get a reputable lawyer who deals with cases other than SSD.  Do NOT get one that advertises on TV.  They do not have good reputations in the medical field, for the most part.  Find a lawyer through word of mouth.  I went with the law firm that my ex-b.f. had used.  He had gotten approved in 9 mos.  Unfortunately, his lawyer was tied up in court with a big, non SS related case, and I was assigned someone else within the firm.  I had misgivings the first (and only) time I met with this man.  He got fired about 6 wks. before I was approved.  I learned that he had not been forwarding my updated medical info to SS.  After the new lawyer took over--the one I actually wanted in the first place--I had approval within a month.  We were getting ready to go to court, but SS settled. 

Just wanted to give you some info from my personal experience.



Hugs,
Connie
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
 
Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Post Edited (hep93) : 11/15/2008 5:04:57 PM (GMT-7)

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